How to write the best SOP for Canada universities:
So many students aspire to study in Canadian universities. They work hard with their academic performance but don’t know the importance of an SOP. SOP stands for Statement of Purpose. When you post an application in a university, they ask you to write an effective SOP.
Through SOP, you can talk about your goals and aspirations in the right way to help a university understand why you can fit in, as one of their students. So what exactly is SOP?
What is SOP?
SOP can be defined as a statement of research or a letter of intent, that is intended for the admission panel to read. It conveys your aspirations about the career path you intend to take, the list of your interests, professional contributions, goals, and more.
It also defines the force that drives you to pursue that specific career. An SOP can be submitted in the form of an essay. But certain universities also prefer question and answer format. The way you write an SOP determines your admission in the institution of your preference.
The purpose behind writing an SOP:
An SOP can turn out to be a decision maker in your career path, if it is nicely written and framed. With a correctly written SOP, the admission committee can analyze and assess the way you approach your life, career goals and the paths you take to fulfil them.
Long story cut short, SOP defines your overall personality and long term vision when it comes to your goals. Writing an SOP lets you pitch your purpose to the university’s admission panel and reasons as to why they should let you secure admission in their university.
If you are a student with a weak academic background, then a good SOP can strongly define your future goals, career aspirations and the ways you can achieve them. Also, you get a chance to showcase your writing skills and this can make you stand out and let them see why they should choose your profile over other applicants.
Components of a perfectly written SOP:
A perfectly written SOP is said so because it contains following elements that have been well defined:
- Personal background
- Financial background
- Short term and long term goals
- Academic information, interests and hobbies
- Work Experience (It includes part time as well as full time jobs)
- Reasons why you want to study in the university abroad
- Reasons why you are interested in the said field
- List of extra curricular activities
- List of published works
- List of submitted papers.
What are the Concerns Your SOP Needs to Address for a Canadian University?
When it relates to the concerns colleges want students to answer in their SOP, Canadian institutions are no different than universities in other countries. We have compiled a list of the main five questions that candidates pursuing Canadian universities, regardless, of course, should address in their SOP.
Here are the questions:
1. Who exactly are they? – The student must identify themselves to the university, as well as what they have learned and where they obtained it. They must also list any prior employment history.
2. What are your educational goals? – In this section, the student must tell the admissions committee about their academic interests. The student should include the full title of the course to which they desire to apply. A tiny hint here is to avoid abbreviations like MS in CS and instead write “Masters of Science in Computer Science.”
3. Why are they interested in this particular subject? – The student must explain to the admissions committee why they wish to pursue the program for which they are applying. Candidates should add information on their inspiration for selecting the course in this section of the SOP.
4. What have they accomplished in their desired career so far? – The student must include significant experiences in the industry they are enrolling to, such as certificates, articles, or projects.
5. Why did they select that particular university? – The student must persuade the admissions committee of their reasons for enrolling in the university and the course. Ultimately, the student must promote the institution and the curriculum. Acknowledging one or two university lecturers working on your subject of interest and discussing their research study that fascinates you will help you score some brownie points.
Students should reflect that their responses to the above topics should mix effectively and not appear to be responses to 5 different questions.
What Constitutes a Good SOP for Canadian Universities?
Now that you know the five critical questions that must be addressed in an SOP for Canadian institutions, let’s go over some essential qualities of a successful SOP.
- The SOP must be creative and one-of-a-kind. Plagiarism is strictly prohibited at all Canadian universities and carries serious consequences. You can look at the SOPs of your seniors who have been accepted to your ideal school but assure your SOP is unique. Do not examine too many SOP samples. This will assist you in keeping your SOP original.
- Students should use a solid structure when writing an excellent SOP for Canadian universities. An appropriate opening, body, and end make up a solid framework. An SOP is more acceptable and appealing to the admissions committee when it has a systematic and organized framework.
- The purpose of your candidacy should be explained to the admissions committee in the initial paragraph.
- Students must ensure to tailor their SOP to the institution and the program they are enrolling in. They can draft a generic SOP initially, then edit it to reflect the course and college in which they are enrolling. They will be helped by conducting thorough research on the institution and the course.
- Do not repeat information that is already in your Resume or application. If you keep repeating what is already in the Resume, your SOP will become repetitious and dull. If you must include this information in your SOP, try to make an intriguing story out of them.
- A successful SOP must include both short and long-term objectives.
- Adding recreational and social events is a clever strategy to stand out from the crowd of applicants who have educational achievements.
- An excellent SOP follows a logical sequence and is easy to read. The admissions committee does not anticipate a potential MBA graduate to be the next William Shakespeare, but an intriguing SOP will undoubtedly stand out among the many other applications. Make your SOP shine by weaving a beautiful tale about your accomplishments, goals, and desires.
- The style of the SOP must be somewhere between formal and informal. The SOP must be written in clear terms. It should be intriguing and have a smooth flow. It is essential to prevent any grammatical faults here.
Keys to writing a winning SOP:
Writing an SOP is all about including all the relevant information without it looking like you are talking gibberish. Here, I enlist five essential steps to writing an SOP that helps you secure the admission in the university of your choosing:
1. Determine the list of the things you wish to include in an SOP:
A statement of purpose is a document with a lot of details and information. And it can turn out to be a much longer document than you anticipated. But before you begin writing, you need to determine the list of things you would like to include.
An SOP lets the admission panel understand your academic journey until this moment along with your goals, vision and career aspirations. You can include as many things as you like. But, the word of caution here, is to include only those things that stand in relevance with the purpose behind the admission.
To aid this process, take a paper and list out all the things you would like highlighted in your SOP. This list should include your short term goals, long term goals, and the life events that have happened so far.
At this step, you need to write everything down first to see how your life has been so far without giving much attention. Because, eventually by the time you reach the last step, all the irrelevant information would be eliminated.
2. Determine the theme of your SOP:
The SOP should follow a certain theme. This means that you are required to focus and concentrate on one thought process. It is natural for you to want to write down and tell them everything. But, the key here is, to decide in which direction you want your SOP to move.
Your SOP should define how you want to achieve a goal in the future and why specifically you want to achieve that goal. Write down your life story and which incident according to you, changes the course of your story? Or for instance, which event made you think about the goal you are talking about here?
Because of certain events, you were motivated to pursue your career as a writer, or a techie. As you find this out, you define the theme of your SOP. And the theme helps you find the direction in which the SOP should progress.
3. Edit the list and remove irrelevant information:
Once you have written down everything and have found the theme, it is now time to read everything that you have written so far. This also means that you clear up the list of irrelevant things and organize the important information in a nice way.
To do this, take out a red pen and strike the things out that don’t seem to be in tandem with the theme of your SOP. As you reach this step, it is important for you to understand what should and should not go within an SOP.
Here, you also see that an SOP for a student aspiring a course in mechanical engineering is different from a SOP of a student looking to pursue a degree in MBA. In addition to this, the SOP for an under graduation course differs from the SOP for a post graduation course.
Hence, define the course you want to be admitted in and write the SOP accordingly.
4. Run a good amount of research on the course and the university:
By this time, you must have acquired a lot of information and details about the university and the course you want to apply for. But at this stage, you should determine everything about the culture at the university, the alumni and more.
Once you gather all the said information, you can define how those can be contributing factors for the success of your goals and the path you have chosen. If you are going to apply for a research based program, it is imperative to mention the faculty names and the ongoing projects.
Doing this can give you a competitive edge over other applicants and to the admission committee, it looks like you ran a good amount of research. An indepth research about the course you want to study, is offered a significant consideration in the foreign universities.
5. Write, edit and then write again:
This is a no-brainer and a self explanatory step. Whatever you write, even if it is not an SOP, needs to be edited and proofread once the writing part is over. Hence, you should never submit the first draft that you have written to the university. This is because the chances are, it may have to face a rejection.
It is important to proofread it once if not twice or thrice. Yet, one time editing and proofreading is crucial for you to successfully land up in the said university. This proofreading may not change the entire draft. But, it may let you check the punctuation, grammar and vocabulary issues it might have.
You should always ensure that your grammar, vocabulary and punctuation is of utmost importance. When you have enough time to submit the SOP, you should always remove all the errors.
Once, you are done editing, let it sit for a few days. Go through it again after a few days. As you do this, you may want to add or remove one or more parts of the SOP. Also, you may want to add some new details that you missed out writing when you were writing it on the first go. Thus, re-write your SOP and submit the final draft to the university.
Wrapping it up:
A statement of purpose is a very important part of application in a foreign university, specifically in Canada. SOP helps them understand who you are as a person, along with your academic background. Thus, never underestimate the power of a nicely written SOP.